MT. VERNON — For Investigator Jonah Kinsolving, enforcing disabled parking laws is one of the more gratifying parts of his job with the Illinois Secretary of State Police.
Not only does the work serve an important function, but disabled veterans and other groups are often very appreciative of what he's doing, Kinsolving said.
“It's one of the few things that I get thanked for the most,” Kinsolving said. “It's neat that the people that actually have (disabled parking placards) support it so much.”
Kinsolving conducted a special sting in Mt. Vernon Saturday to crack down on holiday shoppers who violate the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities.
The enforcement action took place in the Times Square Mall, Kroger and Walmart parking lots, as well as elsewhere in the city.
As part of the sting, Kinsolving patrolled these sites and checked on vehicles parked in handicapped slots to ensure those vehicles were authorized to be there.
Motorists using these slots must display a valid disabled parking placard or license plate on their vehicle to avoid being cited.
On Saturday, 93 placards were inspected in Mt. Vernon and two citations were issued. Both citations were for placards being used while the authorized holder was not present, said Beth Kaufman, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's Office.
Kinsolving said the violations come in various forms. Most offenders are those using a friend or relative's placard or an expired placard.
In the summer, Kinsolving said he also catches quite a few motorcyclists parking in the “striped zone.”
“We have a zero tolerance policy when we're on these details,” Kinsolving said.
Many times, someone will use their disabled spouse's placard, believing the placard covers them as well, Kinsolving said. This is not the case as the disabled person has to be in the vehicle when the placard is being used.